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Krutiis
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PostSubject: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 12:02 am

I've been on a big reading kick of late, and have become obsessed with limited edition (signed and numbered) hardcover books. I'll keep y'all posted on my latest obsession, and y'all list what you're reading in turn.
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Krutiis
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 12:14 am

So in the last two weeks or so, the following have come in the mail for me:

The Indifference of Heaven - Gary Braunbeck
The Shadow at the Bottom of the World - Thomas Ligotti
The Minotauress - Edward Lee
Creekers - Edward Lee
The Crossings - Jack Ketchum
The Disappeared - Ray Garton
As the Sun Goes Down - Tim Lebbon
Gleefully Macabre Tales - Jeff Strand
Studies in Modern Horror (issues 1 and 2, edited by NGChristakos)
A Selected Bibliography of Jack Ketchum
These are all from Camelot Books and Gifts, a fantastic seller of specialty books, and God bless their hearts, they wrap all the dust jackets in protective plastic. I love doing business with them. All of the above are signed and numbered save the Lebbon book, and the two magazines. The Ketchum bibliography is signed but not numbered.

To Each Their Darkness - Gary A. Braunbeck
Five Past Midnight - edited by Gary A. Braunbeck and Hank Schwaeble
These two from Apex books, who will also release the forthcoming A Cracked and Broken Path, the final book in this phase of Barunbeck's Cedar Hill Cycle. And it's apparently a big one, double the size of his previous books.

Preacher: Books 2 and 3 (graphic novels, and the third hasn't shipped yet, but is coming)
The Nightmare Factory Volumes 1 and 2 (graphic novels based on the stories of Thomas Ligotti)
Yaccub's Curse - Wrath James White
Book of a Thousand Sins - Wrath James White
The Town that Forgot How to Breathe - Kenneth J. Harvey
Headstone City - Tom Piccirilli
Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death - James Marriott and Kim Newman
All these from Amazon.

Add on top of this books I got before Christmas that I plan on reading in Mexico like Norman Partridge's Dark Harvest and Douglas Clegg's Neverland, and I have my work cut out for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 12:23 am

Mojo Magazines Frank Zappa special. Just amazing obviously.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 1:29 am

So now for my third post, I'll briefly go over what I've actually read so far.

The first book I read was The Crossings by Jack Ketchum, which Stephen King said it "may be the best book of his career" in his National Book Award acceptance speech. It's a long novella (almost exactly 100 pages) set in Arizona in 1848, as a young Mexican woman escapes a slave/forced prostitution camp, hellbent on returning to save her sister who is still trapped there. As with all of Ketchum's work, the violence is gritty, real and shocking.

While reading an essay of his in a horror writing handbook, I think he explains exactly why his horror is so, well, horrific. As he explains, all of his writing deals on one level or another with loss in some capacity. His goal as a writer is to make the reader feel that loss in some fashion. The Crossings does not have the same heart-wrenching and soul-crushing sense of tragedy and loss as his brilliant novella Closing Time. Now does it reach the depraved and utterly stomach-churning depths of human evil as Weed Species (which, believe it or not, is an even more brutal read than The Girl Next Door). King's gushing might be a bit hyperbolic, but as with any Ketchum fiction you pick up, you know you're getting very well-written, expertly paced and hard-hitting stuff. His Three Sisters running the slave camp and following the Old Gods (shades of Lovecraft?) are excellent villains for the piece.

It's $35 price tag might be a little steep for people that aren't obsessive collectors like myself, and with Leisure Books apparently crashing and burning, it might be awhile before this is consumed by the public at large, but if you ever get the chance check it out.

The next book I read in full (many of the books I got from Camelot were collections, so I've been nibbling on a short story here or there) was The Indifference of Heaven by Gary A. Braunbeck, a book I know some of you are familiar with under the new title it was given upon mass market release: In Silent Graves. This is my favourite book ever, full stop. I liked it so much that I spent $50 on a first edition, signed edition (#53 out of 199, bitches) even though the exact same story is already sitting on my shelf in paperback form.

Robert Londrigan is a man determined to get ahead in life, driven to succeed in the cutthroat world of television journalism, and his sometimes self-centred nature has led to a fight with his pregnant wife. He takes a walk to blow off steam, and returns to find his wife going into premature labour. His entire world starts to implode when both wife and child die in hospital, and when granted a few minutes to say goodbye to his family, he is brutally assaulted. A terribly deformed man beats him terribly in the morgue while repeatedly asking "Do you despair yet?" before stealing off with the body of Robert's daughter. From there we follow Robert's journey as reality starts to unravel, where he must confront people from his past as he begins to realize the error of his ways, and recognize the role his past has had in shaping the man he is today. At the same time, he must learn to despair. Despair for the children born deformed and dead, as his own daughter was; despair for the children tortured, raped and killed by people that were supposed to love and care for them , and despair for the children whose world has been undone by horrible cruelty.

Over the course of this powerhouse of a novel, we learn of repentant fallen angels and the role their offspring play and we meet the Pied Piper of Hamelin (and Rwanda, and Auschwitz, and anywhere else children have been forced to suffer from mankind's failings). As Robert learns to despair, he also learns how to redeem himself, and recognize the beauty in all people, even the damaged and discarded children he is now charged with protecting.

The Indifference of Heaven is one of the most devastating and beautiful books I have ever read. Braunbeck is a man who has endured unimaginable tragedy, violence and horror in his life, including losing a child of his own, so when he puts to words what the grief of losing a child feels like, you believe every single solitary word he says, and might even begin to imagine the pain. This is horror, but it's also fantasy, mystery, romance and a philosophical attempt to reconcile the unfathomable sufferings and horrors of the world with the existence of a kind and just God.

Just read the damn thing if you haven't yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 1:59 am

Currently reading Manhood+for+amateurs
Currently reading Book-roadhouse
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 2:24 am

The Crossings seems great. I'll try to find it.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 7:14 am

Recently read:

G.K. Chesterton - Thomas Aquinas - Renowned Catholic historian Etienne Gilson called this the best book ever written on the Saint... unlike virtually every other biography, which are usually quite literal and linear in their development, Chesterton's is based far more on a synthesis of several key elements of Aquinas, uniting them into a strong, lucid narrative... poignant and deeply insightful, this text retains the essential whilst dispensing with the trivial.

Hilaire Belloc - The Path to Rome - The classic account of Chesterton's close friend Hilaire Belloc's pilgrimage from the North of France to the legendary and highly spiritual city of Rome... Belloc is at times a master wit, firing off cunning jokes and shrewd observations in good taste; at other times, he is grave and sublime, denoting the majesty of an event in his walk with a keen sense of wonder and a true humility. The atmosphere of the book is positively medieval: Belloc is old-fashioned in his travels, being well-mannered and keeping good company with innkeepers and shopkeepers alike, as well as with fellow travellers... This being the man who said 'Europe is the Faith, and the Faith is Europe', it would not surprise anyone to find that this book is as much a personal trek to explore the faith in a new, more practical way, as it is an exposition of the Continent's true universal nature that resides and can only reside in the Roman Catholic Church.

Am currently reading Josef Pieper's Guide to Thomas Aquinas, which is admittedly drier than Chesterton's more 'popular' read, but is no less worthwhile in its elucidation of Aquinas's real importance...


Recently ordered books:

Vladimir Moss - The Theology of Eros
G.K. Chesterton - William Blake
G.K. Chesterton - The Man Who Was Thursday
Hilaire Belloc - Europe and the Faith
Bradley J. Birzer - J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth
Thomas Aquinas - Summa Theologica (and other writings)
St. Augustine - Confessions
Dante Alighieri - La Vita Nuova
Alister McGrath - Christian Theology - An Introduction
St. Athanasius - On the Incarnation
John P. Bequette -Christian Humanism: Creation, Redemption, and Reintegration
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSat Jan 15, 2011 11:22 am

Robert W. Chambers - The King In Yellow.
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Faustian
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSun Jan 16, 2011 6:06 am

The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov,
as well as Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeMon Jan 17, 2011 10:02 pm

I've started reading Wrath James White's Book of a Thousand Sins, a collection of short stories. He's gaining a reputation as a new face in the hardcore horror scene, and people liken him to Edward Lee, except Lee's most revolting stuff is all written tongue firmly in cheek. White is deadly serious in his approach, and is also very dedicated to spreading his atheistic views. Something metalheads might appreciate, actually.

The first story I read was called He Who Increases Knowledge, and it tells about a man who has dedicated his life in search of God, and has studied science, philosophy and religion, to no avail. His quest for knowledge eventually leads him to a rundown, filthy brothel in Mexico, where he finally finds God...

...by fucking the 2000 year old near-corpse of Mary Magdalene. And what he ultimately discovers utterly undoes his view of the world.

I'll keep you all posted, but this is a pretty neat collection, and it's available relatively widely, for reasonable price.

I also read Crawlers by Ray Garton, a novella about a meteor shower that leaves in its wake strange flowers growing. As it turns out the flowers are actually some kind of sentient being, as the flower detaches from the stem and runs around, intent on attaching to someone's face, drilling a hole and pumping goo into the victim's brain, turning him or her into a zombie. This has B movie written all over it, but keep in mind that the "B" stands for Bad. The story is some half-baked melding of Alien, Day of the Triffids and any number of zombie movies. The characters are well-drawn but ultimately mean nothing, and it's written like a shock-filled screenplay, a form not terribly effective in print. Worst, it is saddled with a cheap Deus Ex Machina ending that I saw coming when I saw how few pages were left. About five pages from the end, I got to thinking "Oh shit, he'd better not do what I think he's going to do". And he didn't, exactly, but he went with a variation on what I feared. In the right hands, this could make a passable horror movie for the teenaged audience, but it's devoid of any real emotion, message or meaning, something you expect from the small press. I was excited to dig into this collection of novellas, but after this weak start, I've decided to check out some of my other volumes first. If you want plant horror, stick with The Ruins.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeMon Jan 17, 2011 11:07 pm

I'm rather behind on my reading lately, a sacrilege I hope to rectify soon enough.

For now, in whatever format available to you, find In Silent Graves yesterday and read the motherfucker. I know Krutiis has pimped the damn thing like a two-dollar whore for years now, but his reviews actually underscore its greatness. It is worth the hype.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeThu Jan 20, 2011 12:43 am

Read a whole whack of Braunbeck today, starting off with Haceldama, which the man was kind enough to send to me (it's out of print). The story starts out like this:

"The customers in the truck stop restaurant paid no attention to the man until he started shooting."

So after grabbing you by the balls, Braunbeck then goes on to tell a story about a cursed man with a horrible past driven by Divine forces to murder for the sake of balance. He leaves several notes at his crime scenes, and he explains how in the County cemetery there are 157 nameless graves, and that for each one he must kill one person that will be remembered, missed and mourned. I won't spoil the end, but the eventual reveal abslolutely floored me the first time I read it in Coffin County, the novel that grew out of this earlier work.

Braunbeck has a tendency to re-use short stories, expanding and elaborating on them in most of his novels. Mr. Hands was initially a novella that went by the same name. Coffin County started out as Haceldama, and you'll also find his emotionally devastating story Saviour mixed in (for those who've read the novel, that the parts where the guy cocks his finger back like a gun, to "shoot" them and take away their pain). A big part of Keepers can be found in the short story Modoc Rising. His latest was called Far Dark Fields, but the seed was a novella that's been called both Safe and Searching for Survivors. Even In Silent Graves can be traced back to story called In a Hand or Face. At first I was actually a little ticked that I spent so much on these collections when much of the work is available, at least partially, in his novels. But they are different experiences, and all very much worth the read.

I also finished the aforementioned Safe, a story about a grisly murder spree and its aftermath on a small town, as well as lives that were shattered, ended and in one case even reborn with this one brutal rampage. It's about a man coming to terms with his past and using horrific experiences in the past to help a younger generation cope with a tragedy of their own.

The last story I read today was called After the Elephant Ballet. This one is particularly sad, even for Braunbeck, as he blends in several short fairy tales about elephants that are so sad as to bring tears to the eyes. Ultimately the story is uplifting, as death is seen as a blessing to the truly lost and forlorn, and where the deceased can relive happier times, times they don't even necessarily remember.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeThu Jan 20, 2011 5:33 pm

I've been reading a lot of Tom Clancy lately. I read a bunch of his stuff about 10 or so years ago and I wanted to do some reading a few months so I started back at the beginning and have been working my way through them. Currently on The Sum of all Fears.

Last summer I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was the first book of his I read, and it was one of the bleakest, most hopeless books I've ever read. A movie was made out of it a few years back with Viggo Mortenson and its one of the better book to movie transitions I've seen.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeThu Jan 20, 2011 7:45 pm

iwillstabyou wrote:
Last summer I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was the first book of his I read, and it was one of the bleakest, most hopeless books I've ever read. A movie was made out of it a few years back with Viggo Mortenson and its one of the better book to movie transitions I've seen.
I think the movie is actually better. I don't really like McCarthy's style. There were a few scenes that really came to life in the movie that were bland in the book because McCarthy uses almost no dialog description. He never tells you about anyone's facial expressions and rarely expounds on people's tones of voice.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeThu Jan 20, 2011 8:56 pm

iwillstabyou wrote:
Last summer I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
Another thing I'm right in the middle of...I start too many books and never finish them.

Right now, all I'm reading is something for school, "Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America" by Leon Dash. Basically, the story of an old black lady in DC and her family and all the poverty/drug use/crime that's affected them for generations. Pretty interesting stuff so far, and it's sad to see the struggle of some people to get out of the system and to see how people who could help didn't.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeFri Jan 21, 2011 11:36 am

DapperDan wrote:
iwillstabyou wrote:
Last summer I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was the first book of his I read, and it was one of the bleakest, most hopeless books I've ever read. A movie was made out of it a few years back with Viggo Mortenson and its one of the better book to movie transitions I've seen.
I think the movie is actually better. I don't really like McCarthy's style. There were a few scenes that really came to life in the movie that were bland in the book because McCarthy uses almost no dialog description. He never tells you about anyone's facial expressions and rarely expounds on people's tones of voice.
That didn't seem to bother me when I read it. I guess I just kind of used my imagination to fill in the blanks while reading and didn't notice.

Or it could have been done purposely. They've been living in that enviornment for so long that it isn't unreasonable to believe that very few things, if any, have any real effect on them that would cause a drastically different expression or tone.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSun Jan 23, 2011 7:14 pm

I recently finished reading Elmore Leonard's Pronto which is essentially setting the table for the FX series Justified. It was good, as I imagined it would be, I've liked everything I've ever read by Leonard.

Now I've been getting into some H.P. Lovecraft at the suggestion of quite a few friends of mine. I just finished The Call of Cthulhu which was great. I'm currently on The Dunwich Horror and plan on reading At the Mountains of Madness next.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeSun Jan 23, 2011 11:35 pm

iwillstabyou wrote:
DapperDan wrote:
iwillstabyou wrote:
Last summer I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was the first book of his I read, and it was one of the bleakest, most hopeless books I've ever read. A movie was made out of it a few years back with Viggo Mortenson and its one of the better book to movie transitions I've seen.
I think the movie is actually better. I don't really like McCarthy's style. There were a few scenes that really came to life in the movie that were bland in the book because McCarthy uses almost no dialog description. He never tells you about anyone's facial expressions and rarely expounds on people's tones of voice.
That didn't seem to bother me when I read it. I guess I just kind of used my imagination to fill in the blanks while reading and didn't notice.

Or it could have been done purposely. They've been living in that enviornment for so long that it isn't unreasonable to believe that very few things, if any, have any real effect on them that would cause a drastically different expression or tone.
Well, maybe, but people are always going to have some kind of expression on their faces and emotions will alter your tone of voice. But even if everyone on earth has become so desensitized from what's happened and are all monotoned zombies, then at least say that instead of saying nothing.

As a writer myself (yeah I know), I don't believe that leaving something up to the reader's imagination is a good thing. It means that you dropped the ball on that specific instance and the reader had to create their own description. It distances yourself from what the writer is trying to create and that will ultimately form a rift between the reader and the author.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeTue Jan 25, 2011 12:23 pm

DapperDan wrote:
iwillstabyou wrote:
DapperDan wrote:
iwillstabyou wrote:
Last summer I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was the first book of his I read, and it was one of the bleakest, most hopeless books I've ever read. A movie was made out of it a few years back with Viggo Mortenson and its one of the better book to movie transitions I've seen.
I think the movie is actually better. I don't really like McCarthy's style. There were a few scenes that really came to life in the movie that were bland in the book because McCarthy uses almost no dialog description. He never tells you about anyone's facial expressions and rarely expounds on people's tones of voice.
That didn't seem to bother me when I read it. I guess I just kind of used my imagination to fill in the blanks while reading and didn't notice.

Or it could have been done purposely. They've been living in that enviornment for so long that it isn't unreasonable to believe that very few things, if any, have any real effect on them that would cause a drastically different expression or tone.
Well, maybe, but people are always going to have some kind of expression on their faces and emotions will alter your tone of voice. But even if everyone on earth has become so desensitized from what's happened and are all monotoned zombies, then at least say that instead of saying nothing.

As a writer myself (yeah I know), I don't believe that leaving something up to the reader's imagination is a good thing. It means that you dropped the ball on that specific instance and the reader had to create their own description. It distances yourself from what the writer is trying to create and that will ultimately form a rift between the reader and the author.
Oh I fully understand what you're saying. I was just trying to come up with a possible outside justification for it.


I've also been slowly working my way through The Walking Dead. Its quite awesome. Way better then the TV show.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeTue Jan 25, 2011 12:47 pm

Working on Child of God by Mr. McCarthy and Clockwork Orange by Too Lazy Too Look Up His Name. I should probably just drop out of school so I can actually catch up on my reading.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeWed Jan 26, 2011 3:00 am

sounds like a good plan to me
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeWed Jan 26, 2011 11:36 pm

Just finished Anthem by Ayn Rand. It was my introduction to Rand, pretty damn awesome. Although it was short, made me think a lot.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeFri Jan 28, 2011 12:27 am

Not reading anything new yet, but I did just place an order for a couple things.

The Jungle - Upton Sinclair (always was curious about this, never got a chance to read it)
In Silent Graves - Gary Braunbeck (based on all the hype on these boards...)
Rape of the Wild: Man's Violence Against Animals and the Earth - Andree Collard and Joyce Contrucci (had to read something related to the environment for my environmental science class, so this is what I chose...not too thrilled about it, but it might be interesting)
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeFri Jan 28, 2011 11:44 am

exploding_pool wrote:
Rape of the Wild: Man's Violence Against Animals and the Earth - Andree Collard and Joyce Contrucci (had to read something related to the environment for my environmental science class, so this is what I chose...not too thrilled about it, but it might be interesting)
The title has "rape" and "animals" in it. You could just pretend the entire book is a giant beastiality metaphor. That might make it more interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Currently reading   Currently reading Icon_minitimeFri Feb 18, 2011 7:24 pm

^ It actually pretty much is, funnily enough. Laughing

Also working on "In Silent Graves" now. I'm only about 70 pages in so far, but it's gruesome and fascinating and heart-breaking...good call, you guys.
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